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St. Elizabeth's Episcopal Church, Culver
The history of St. Elizabeth's began in 1987 when Virginia Fisher discovered that the Rev. Lloyd Holifeld, a counselor at the Pathfinder House in Culver, was conducting Episcopal services in Peru, Indiana. Bishop Francis Gray was trying to establish an Episcopal Church in each county seat in the Diocese of Northern Indiana. With the closing of the church in Peru, and St. Thomas in Plymouth representing Marshall County, Rochester was chosen as the site of a new mission in 1987. It was called St. Mary's with Holifeld as the vicar, but it did not prove to be successful. The majority of the attending families drove to Rochester from Culver for a mid-day service. Fisher and others from Culver appealed to Bishop Gray to transfer the mission to Culver. After prayerful consideration, the bishop consented to the move so long as the mission could be financially self-sufficient.
Since Culver had a Roman Catholic church named St. Mary’s, it was decided to call the new Culver Episcopal church St. Elizabeth’s. On November 7, 1990, at 9 AM, St. Elizabeth’s held its first service in the east end of the Bick’s Flicks building at 820 Academy Road. In January 1991, St. Elizabeth became an official mission of the Diocese of Northern Indiana. It received financial help from other congregations in the diocese: St. Christopher, Carmel; St. Philip and St. James, Fort Wayne; St. Alban’s, Fort Wayne; St. Andrew's, Kokomo, St. Anne’s, Warsaw, and St. Augustine, Gary. All made contributions of the altar, vestments, chalices, torches, thurible, boat, bells, and a processional cross to help establish the new mission.
The worship space was small, but the mission had a local home and its congregation was happy. After several years St. Elizabeth's had the opportunity to move to the west end of the building that would provide a great deal more space – 4 rooms plus and entrance hall. Father Holifeld continued to take care of the little church family until his sudden death in August 2000. The congregation continued to meet, conducting a Morning Prayer service with an occasional supply priest. In October 2001, retired Bishop William C. R. Sheridan, began making monthly visits to conduct services at St. Elizabeth’s. In May 2002, he was named priest-in-charge with twice monthly communion services.This arrangement continued until his death in September 2005. Again, the church held Morning Prayer services with the occasional supply priest until June 2006, when Deacon Margaret Shaw took charge. During the summer of 2006, the building that had been home to St. Elizabeth’s for sixteen years was sold. With generous help, St. Elizabeth’s purchased a home at 515 State Street, not far from its previous address. The last service at 820 Academy Road was held October 29, 2006. The first service at 515 State St. was held November 5, 2006.
In January 2007, Shaw was ordained to the ministry and became priest-in-charge. Her first service at St. Elizabeth’s as a priest occurred on January 14, 2007. In May 2009, she and her husband, Terry, moved to Essex, New York, to take charge of St. John’s Parish, where she would begin as a full-time priest. On Sunday, May 31, 2009, St. Elizabeth’s welcomed the Rev. Tom Haynes as pastoral leader and minister for the congregation. He was followed by the Rev. Thomas Kincaid and the Rev. Clark Miller. St. Elizabeth continues to be self-supporting, has outreach programs, supports mission work, and conducts Wednesday Bible study. The Brotherhood of St. Andrew of the Episcopal Church is also an active group of men.
Lloyd Holifield, 1987-2000
William C. R. Sheridan, 2001-2005
Margaret Shaw, 2006-2009
Thomas Erskine Haynes, 2009-2013
S. Thomas Kincaid, 2013-2015
Clark S. Miller, 2013-
Adapted from St. Elizabeth's website: http://steculver.org/history.html